Waterpolo Opens with Two Wins and a Loss; Returners Showcase Leadership and Talent

The Boys Waterpolo team got off to a superb start last Saturday, with victories against perennial rivals Deerfield and NMH, but a loss to rival Exeter on Wednesday. The Big Blue opened its 2006 season against NMH with three fundamental goals in mind: play strong individual defense, coordinate offensive plays successfully, and run an effective counterattack. Coach David Fox summed up their ultimate team goal as well: “Our goal is, in my view, more significant: take the talent we have and strive to play the perfect game.” Because of the boys’ focus on these team goals and pre-season strategies, the team was able to successfully incorporate all team members into the game, and pull out an impressive 16-1 season opening victory. For many members of the squad, including Brendan Deveney ’09, Parker Washburn ’09, Conor McAuliffe ’10, and Asa Harrington ’09, this was their first varsity game. Each demonstrated strong skills and a thorough understanding of the game; in fact, McAuliffe got an assist in his first-ever offensive play. Also playing in their first varsity game, Ian Accomando ’08, James Martino ’09, Peter Smith ’07, and Ahmet Taner ’07 worked with veteran teammates Andrew Faulkner ’07, Ryan Ferguson ’07, Captain Howie Kalter ’07, Rush Martin ’07, Scott McColl ’07, and Philip Meyer ’08 to finish off the weak NMH squad. Billy Draper ’07 and William Faulkner ’09 also displayed outstanding goaltending, holding NMH to a single goal. The two squads will face each other again on the 21st of October. After a short rest, the team then took on Deerfield in the first of two regular season match-ups. The squad played impressively in this game as well, finishing off the day with two victories and a 12-4 victory over Deerfield. The Class of 2007 dominated the scoring on Saturday, including Captain Howie Kalter’s 18 goals. The remarkable play of the new and returning varsity players demonstrates not only the potential for this season but for the next few years. On Wednesday, the boys played arch rival Exeter, who has one of the strongest water polo programs on the East Coast. With more than twenty league championships under their belt and its last loss to PA occurring in 1994, Exeter kept its winning streak alive with another victory at home over the Andover squad, 13-4. Going into the matchup against Exeter, the team thought it had a good chance to upset the Big Red. However, Exeter’s superior team play proved to be too much for Andover to match. Andover did not paly well enough as a unit to compete with Exeter. That said, Andover did have some outstanding individual performances. William Faulkner ‘09 had many crucial saves in the goal, while McColl, Ferguson and Captain Kalter fought hard to keep their team in the game, looking to break the painful losing streak. Though Captain Kalter showed hints of his true skill, overall it was an off day for the All-League player from last season. While this match-up did result in a loss, the team now recognizes where it needs improvement and will work hard to prepare for the interscholastic tournament at the end of the season. The team prepares for another doubleheader against strong teams from Loomis and Suffield tomorrow. Along with Exeter, these four teams are likely to make up the Championship Final Four in November.